City Year unveils ‘crowd-sourced’ Twitter ad campaign with help from Allen & Gerritsen

City Year, a Boston-based nonprofit that seeks to help young at-risk students, has launched a new national recruitment and awareness campaign that is being partly shaped by crowd-sourcing on Twitter, said Allen & Gerritsen, the Boston-based ad agency that helped develop the campaign.

City Year recruits young people largely between the ages of 17 and 24 to help students from the third to ninth grade to stay in school and not drop out. City Year’s mantra to recruits: “Give a year. Change the World.’’

In looking to drum up new recruits willing to give a year, the campaign makes big use of Twitter, the social media platform that is popular with this age group. City Year is asking its current crop of roughly 2,500 corps members to tweet their stories, and these stories will be used to shape City Year’s marketing efforts, Allen & Gerritsen said in a press release.


To that end, City Year and Allen & Gerritsen quietly created a hash tag several weeks ago called #makebetterhappen. Those tweets were used in the creation of a TV ad that began airing Wednesday. That ad, along with radio and print ads, is designed to get young people to follow tweets at #makebetterhappen. Allen & Gerritsen said it will continue to use those tweets to shape future ads in the campaign.

Because City Year corps members and alumni are playing such a major role, Allen & Gerritsen says this is a “crowd-sourced’’ marketing effort — one that makes use of the wisdom of many people. In essence, the City Year community is the creative director of this ad campaign, Allen & Gerritsen said. The hope, of course, is that these stories and tweets inspire more young adults to sign up as new corps members for City Year.

“With ‘#makebetterhappen,’ Allen & Gerritsen shines a light on the heart and soul of our organization – the corps members who are making a difference each and every day in the lives of students,’’ City Year chief marketing officer Gillian Smith. “By giving our corps members a platform to share their real stories, we have an authentic, wonderful forum for real conversations between City Year corps members, alumni, staff, supporters, and potential future corps members.’’


City Year selected Allen & Gerritsen as its agency of record in April, and ‘#makebetterhappen’ is Allen & Gerritsen’s first major effort on City Year’s behalf.

Loading Comments...